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Apple Denied Access to Google Development Documents, For Now

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73Although this is not “News” any longer we thought that we would touch on something that has been happening in the Apple/Motorola Mobility/Google legal war. As we mentioned a while ago Apple had demanded that Google (the soon to be owner of Motorola Mobility) had over all documentation on Android Development as part of the patent lawsuit that they have with Motorola Mobility. The law suit pre-dates Google’s bid for the company and seemed out of place with the current fight.

Before Steve Jobs passed he had decided to go after Google and Android at one point he was credited with making the comment that he would bury them. The interesting thing is that Apple has never gone after Google directly, instead they have chosen to attack the manufacturing partners like Samsung, HTC, and others in smaller battles to keep the devices off the shelves. With few exceptions the battles have been about core features of the Android OS and its implementation on the handsets and tablets in question.

Now with Google buying Motorola Mobility Apple sees the chance to drag them into the fight and get their hands in information that they currently have no way to ask for. This was the impetus behind the request. The problem is that the Judge in the case made denied the request saying it was too vague and did not have merit at the time; “The motion is vague and overbroad and Motorola's objections are persuasive” was the comment quoted by Bloomberg. Remember, Apple asked for ALL documents relating to the development of the Android OS from Google directly while involved in litigation with Motorola Mobility (a company not yet owned by Google).

The Judge Richard Posner (Presiding over the US Seventh Court of Appeals) did not rule out Apple getting their hands on some development documents, but said they need to be more specific (we guess that he means more germane to the case at hand). We are guessing that unless the request relates to the alleged infringed items any motion by Apple will not be granted. Apple also faces another issue, at the time of this writing the US International Trade Commission dropped the complaint that Apple filed against Motorola Mobility stating that Motorola has not infringed on any of Apple’s patents. This could factor into the case at hand and also can be called for the patent battle that Apple has going against Google that should be heard this summer.

We have a feeling that things will get ugly before all of this is done and that Apple will only push its legal battle to other companies that are less equipped for a legal battle. Looking at this from a strategic and logistical point of view, we think that Apple could be learning a very important lesson. It is very hard to fight a battle on multiple fronts. What works in one arena might not fly in another, they are finding this out the hard way in China in their dispute with ProView a case that is still not settled and now has spilled over to the US as a fraud case against Apple for intentional misrepresentation and fraud by inducement. If this is successful ProView could seriously hurt Apple in terms of money and in their ability to sell the iPad globally.

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Last modified on Thursday, 22 March 2012 10:32
Sean Kalinich

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